A very interesting piece in Publisher’s Weekly about the history and current business of travel guides. Read this one. The piece takes a look at how travel guides have evolved due to changes in the marketplace and a morphing of people’s travel habits. It discusses how the (now quite valuable) Baedeker guides of the late 19th and early 20th centuries set the stage for travel with basic guides about mostly large, well-known popular places. This was back when travel was more of a luxury available to the rich, and long before anyone had even heard of adventure travel, let alone before there was a guide for places like Azerbaijan or Papua New Guinea. Now, with airline travel so much easier and more affordable, and a much more itinerant middle, nee leisure class, guides have evolved to cater to very specific wants, and have become guides that both discuss the best places to go as well as educate.
The list of guides mentioned here is vast. From Fodors to Lonely Planet to Let’s go and on and on, the piece offers a really interesting look at how this industry we all know, love and depend on has changed.